Budget gaming router

I want to buy an OpenWRT capable router with good gaming performance - low pings.
WiFi is required for mobile devices and a laptop, but it doesn't have to be top performance - the important devices will be connected via Ethernet.
Download speed is0 30 Mb/s and 3 Mb/upload.
I want to setup a good sqm so when my rooma mater watch Netflix it does not affect my gaming.

I live in brazil so some brands are not sold here.

At those speeds, any MIPS 74kc device is good enough. I've seen some not-so-bad TP-Link devices in Brazil (last August). The Archer C6, for example, is quite nice, but you have to install OpenWrt via TFTP.

Will a dummy like me be able to do that?
I checked and that router is available here.

My suggestion goes for a Raspberry PI 3 or 4, since SQM is important.
You can use it together with an cheap USB 3.0 gigabit ethernet adapter.
In Brazil, you can find this adapter: exbom UHL-300 (3.0 USB adapter hub with a Realtek gigabit) - it works flawlessly in Openwrt. You just need to add the proper package in Openwrt.

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It would cost as much as the Archer C6 suggested previously.
Would it be better?

Although it seems like the Archer C6 no longer has support for Opn Wrt.

If you want it for gaming, you better check more on the Bufferbloat subject.
I found RPi and Openwrt a perfect fit for me.
No more bufferbloat issues when using Raspberry PI. The hardware itself is a better specification than most TPLink stuff and Openwrt support for Raspberry PI is decent and easy to get along with.
You have a lot more room to play around with SQM QoS, VPN, etc...

You can use cheap TP-link for Access Point only, but don't put it as your main router.

Cool. I'm a bit of a noob so sorry if I ask too much.
I am forced to use a cheap Tp-link router owned by my ISP. If I just use it to connect a ethernet cable and then connect all devices to the Pi will I be able to manage Buffebloat?

Gah! The wiki is wrong. It definitely is flashable through TFTP (I know because, well, I have an Archer C6 v2 which came from factory with the latest available OEM firmware). However, the TFTP client window is extremely narrow, and the link may not come up quickly enough. You should use a Fast Ethernet (100 Mb/s) switch between the router and the TFTP server.
Oh, and the TFTP client sends the requests through the blue WAN connector (or at least I only had success with the WAN port, but it's strange, since the Archer C6 only has one GbE interface).

Even though your throughput requirements are on the lower end, the RPi is not quite a perfect router (only a single ethernet port, only a single/ slow radio). Any of the better/ contemporary ath79/ ipq40xx (I'd prefer the later, but ath79 would do for your requirements) devices with OpenWrt support will provide you a better experience than the RPi (which has a different focus and strength).


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I'd recommend the Netgear 6220 or any other mt76 router. I can't wait to get mine back.

Assuming you're talking about the R6220, it's based on a 1004Kc (in-order) single core CPU with SMT at 880 MHz. I doubt it will be much faster than the 74Kc (out-of-order) at 775 MHz of the Archer C6 v2, besides being more expensive and not supporting MU-MIMO (802.11ac Wave 2).

Thanks for all the suggestions. So far, the Archer C6 v2 seems like the best option.
The Netgear 6220 is not available here in Brazil :frowning:

The CPU doesn't matter unless you're doing other stuff e.g. vpn encryption on the router instead of pc. Instead you want the best drivers for the router. And the mt76 routers are pretty much it these days. I think?

BTW https://m-br.gearbest.com/wireless-routers/pp_424942.html ?

Actually, SQM is all about the CPU, to the point it's fundamentally incompatible with hardware NAT acceleration and/or flow offloading (for the forseeable future, at least, but I'd love to be proven wrong).
That said, I have an Archer C6 v2 managing four wi-fi networks (private, guest, Tor-transparent-bridged and public, also bridged to Tor), three WireGuard endpoints, connected to a 200/20 Mb/s WAN, with SQM on three interfaces, and it runs just fine, even though the CPU load hits around 95 % at the line rate.

Wireless drivers are another story, yet you're comparing mt76 with ath9k and ath10k, which are extremely good (ath9k is the absolute best, IMHO). mt76 is progressing quickly, but I wouldn't say it's on par yet (@nbd?). And the MT7612 on the R6220 also doesn't do MU-MIMO.

You have a good point, at the author's requested speeds an ath9k device is probably best. With it being the only 100% open source driver and the original target of all the buffer bloat optimization focus it's going to be great for gaming. Also, since it is older without 802.11ac support, which isn't needed at 30/3 speeds, it'll be the most affordable.

The mt76 platforms like the 6220 can do SQM at 30/3. A more powerful CPU would just be idle/future proof. IIRC it goes to about 100. I think somebody recently posted benchmarks?

I have been through three routers in six months, wrt3200acm (couldn't use due to wmm bug), Netgear 6220 (now at my girlfriend's to replace the wrt3200acm), and an archer c7 (for the sake of buying myself something different to replace my 6220). The current ath10k device feels less reliable in terms of ping. The common case it is great. However I have had ping random spikes I never noticed with the mt76. I've definitely died in games, looked up to my on screen ping and noticed my ping is huge with the c7. Ultimately a gamer needs 100% consistency.

Benchmarks at Comparative Throughput Testing Including NAT, SQM, WireGuard, and OpenVPN

I think the whole ath9k vs. ath10k, open-source-based, debate is about "religion", not about performance or reliability.

At 33 Mbps, aggregate, any MIPS-based device with a clock speed over ~500 MHz, from a reputable manufacturer, should be sufficient for routing, NAT, and SQM. (As would any current, ARM-based all-in-one.)

For gaming, as noted, lag spikes can be deadly. A multi-core device can help mitigate this, if budget and availability permit.

WRT32X has gigabit lan and handles over 500Mbits with SQM no problem and get straight A+ on dslreports.com/speedtest testing including bufferbloat. I also get 60-80MB/s with USB 3.0 storage so I have a network drive on it for Kodi etc. Normally I wouldn't suggest it because it's pricey but I'm using the renewed one on Amazon that is only $100 USD.

I don't think 100 USD is 'budget', not even in a richer region like the US or Europe, let alone in Brasil.

I would not recommend any Marvell stuff either for now, nobody knows what's going to happen with the wireless (driver development looks stalled) Marvell is selling off to NXP - support-wise, that is.